Since I don’t really have time to do more than one post per day, here is what I posted to Bagaholics Anonymous this morning about what my process is for making bags. I would love to learn from some of you other bag makers out there!
Last week Natalie Joy’s post asked for people to share their tricks of the trade. I feel not-so-qualified to be posting on the “trade”, but I’m going to give it a shot. I’d love to know what YOUR techniques are as well so PLEASE SHARE! I haven’t been sewing purses for long, but I sure do wish that someone had been there to guide me through some things along the way. The process I go through is one that I have settled into after making many mistakes, and I’m sure some of you longtime sewers out there are going to laugh at me, but for the sake of the few that may be newer to bag-making than I am, here goes.
* I wash, dry and iron my fabric. If I know that all of it is going to be used for purses eventually, I fuse the entire piece with interfacing. My favorite is Amor Suitweight that I can get at WalMart, I honestly haven’t found that perfect weight anywhere else. Even other brands of suitweight aren’t what I’m looking for. Fusing the entire piece first means that I do waste a small amount of interfacing but it saves me a cutting step later on in the process.
* I cut my pieces, then, if the bag is any larger than an evening bag, I cut fusible fleece for the liner. I cut the fleece 1/2″ smaller all the way around so that I don’t have bulky seams. Putting the fleece on the liner also gives the pockets something to grip to. Yes, my liner ends up having 2 layers on it – interfacing AND fleece. Fleece alone hasn’t seemed to give me the sturdiness I like. If anyone else has a better idea, PLEASE let me know!
* I make my pockets out of 2 layers of already-fused fabric – they seem to be nice and sturdy that way. Can you tell I’m into sturdiness?
* If I make up my own pattern, most of the time I’ll box corners. I picked up this trick when trying to copy a friend’s purse – it was really eye-opening and means I can cut an exterior out of one piece if the print on the fabric allows.
* On small bags, my straps just have interfacing in them. For large bags with thick straps, I’ve been known to put a strip of fusible fleece in there. Again, fusible fleece alone results in floppy handles so they are interfaced also.
* I use stabilizer (such as Peltex 70 or Timtex) to stabilize the bottom of the bag so that it doesn’t “hang out”. This is where the beauty of the boxed corners come in. When you box your corners, you are left with a triangular hem that you can cut off. I leave them on the exterior and sew the stabilizer to the triangles.
* Stabilizer can come in handy for a bag that’s big and boxy as well. I’ve seen a pattern that called for slipping the stabilizer between the exterior and liner throughout the whole bag so that it would keep it’s box shape. This is what I did for the black and white evening bag in this post.
And just for fun, here’s a picture of a bag with boxed corners and fleece inside.
Okay, if you are a long-time bag maker, you can stop laughing at me now. If there’s any better steps/techniques to bag-making, I would LOVE to know about them! Thank you!